May 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
The possible return of interest in the organic, possibly art nuveau..
April 5, 2010 § Leave a comment
And of course money is a proxy measure for
and intergenerational continuity and care. that is, for the life of a full human.
March 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
Strong words. Lots of wisdom. Don’t make enemies out of people. Science is too ingrown. The scientific method allows for criticism..
What, I wondered, would be the great man’s view on the latest twists in the atmospheric story — the Climategate emails and the sloppy science revealed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC? To my surprise, he immediately professed his admiration for the climate-change sceptics.“I think you have to accept that the sceptics have kept us sane — some of them, anyway,” he said. “They have been a breath of fresh air. They have kept us from regarding the science of climate change as a religion. It had gone too far that way. There is a role for sceptics in science. They shouldn’t be brushed aside. It is clear that the angel side wasn’t without sin.”As we were ushered in to dinner, I couldn’t help wrestling with the irony that the so-called “prophet of climate change”, whose Gaia theory is regarded in some quarters as a faith in itself, was actively cheering on those who would knock science from its pedestal.Lovelock places great emphasis on proof. The climate change projections by the Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre — a key contributor to the IPCC consensus — should be taken seriously, he said. But he is concerned that the projections are relying on computer models based primarily on atmospheric physics, because models of that kind have let us down before. Similar models, for example, failed to detect the hole in the ozone layer;it was eventually found by Joe Farman using a spectrometer.How, asks Lovelock, can we predict the climate 40 years ahead when there is so much that we don’t know? Surely we should base any assumptions on things we can measure, such as a rise in sea levels. After all, surface temperatures go up and down, but the rise in sea levels reflects both melting ice and thermal expansion. The IPCC, he feels, underestimates the extent to which sea levels are rising.Do mankind’s emissions matter? Yes, they undoubtedly do.No one should be complacent about the fact that within the next 20 years we’ll have added nearly a trillion tons of carbon to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. When a geological accident produced a similar carbon rise 55m years ago, it turned up the heat more than 5C. And now? Well, the effect of man-made carbon is unpredictable. Temperatures might go down at first, rather than up, he warns.How should we be spending our money to prevent possible disaster? In Britain, says Lovelock, we need sea walls and more nuclear power. Heretical stuff, when you consider the vast amount that Europe plans to spend on wind turbines.“What would you bet will happen this century?” a mathematician asked him. Lovelock predicted a temperature rise in the middle range of current projections — about 1C-2C — which we could live with. Ah, but hadn’t he also said there was a chance that temperature rises could threaten human civilisation within the lifetime of our grandchildren?He had. In the end, his message was that we should have more respect for uncertainties and learn to live with possibilities rather than striving for the 95% probabilities that climate scientists have been trying to provide. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we don’t know if we can avert disaster — although we should try. His sage advice: enjoy life while you can.
March 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
There is some real courage in this short book. The metaphor of “other worlds” is right to the core. The write, and quote
Since the Second World War, development, so-called, has been as much about power play and geo-politics as it has the improvement of people’s lives. As Chaterjee and Finger write, the Cold War underpinned the Western development paradigm and the values upon which it is based: The Cold War became one of the driving forces of industrial development, because it stimulated scientifc and technological progress on the one hand, and promoted military-induced industrial production on the other…the Cold War cemented the nation-state system and thus reinforced the idea that nation- states were the most relevant units within which problems had to be addressed. Indeed, because of the Cold War, the nation-states continued to be seen as the units within which development occurs and must be promoted, because it is economic and military strength that defnes each nation’s relative power… Again, industrial development came to be seen as a means to enhance national power…9
Another frame, the cold war.Win by out producing. “we will bury you.” what a terrible heritage! That takes us back to the origins of WW! and he clash of empires, also over production and competition to be a player. Banks.
Climate change is a serious threat to human development. But it is also holds opportunity. Rethinking how to share a fnite planet, meeting our collective needs whilst living within environmental limits could not only rescue civilisation (yes, the stakes are that high) but be a way to tackle deeply entrenched problems of social injustice, and greatly improve overall human well-being.
So, we expand successfully till we bump into the round planet problem, and failing to respond, lose the chance to get to civilization. Remember Fred Hoyle on nuclear power?
They quote Jeffry Sachs he is mostly a problem in my mind)
The good news is that well more than half of the world, from the Bangladesh garment worker onward…is experiencing economic progress. Not only do they have a foothold on the development ladder, but they are actually climbing it. The climb is evident in rising personal incomes and the acquisition of goods such as cell phones, television sets, and scooters… The greatest tragedy of our time is that one sixth of humanity is not even on the development ladder.
Besides the obvious climate implications, there is no sensitivity to the fact that third world people are scrambling against larger economic realities. Life is painful just to keep up with others getting ahead. My recent rip to Guatemala showed a country both making progress and burnt out.this lack of sympathy and imagination i take as one of the real failures of American power.
Use of literature:
In Goethe’s famous tragedy there is a parable for development and the growth economy. Faust’s character has many incarnations. His frst self is the dreamer. But the dreamer is dissolved and Faust transformed into the lover. Finally, in his last transformation and ‘romantic quest for self-development… he will work out some of the most creative and some of the most destructive potentialities of modern life,’ writes Berman, ‘he will be the consummate wrecker and creator, the dark and deeply ambiguous fgure that our age has come to call, “the developer”.’
a good way of putting it (quoting in the text).
and 4). He wrote that the physical view of the economy ‘is governed by the laws of thermodynamics and continuity’ and so ‘the question of how much natural resource we have to fuel the economy, and how much energy we have to extract, process and manufacture is central to our existence’.
This normalizes the question without much ideology. Who cannot take this seriously? Our own local Hewlett Foundation gets into the mix. One can imagine the committee meetings where this happened.Perhaps i can track down a participant and get the story.
Yet there is a continued focus on economic growth as the answer to all the world’s ills. For example, the Commission on Growth and Development (funded by the governments of Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the World Bank, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation) was ‘brought together by the belief that the world’s challenges – political, environmental, misunderstandings within and between nations, vast differences in living standards within and across countries – are best met in conditions of rising and sustained prosperity, and expanding opportunities’.20 Its underlying assumption is that ‘…poverty cannot be reduced in isolation of economic growth…’21
March 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
The use of seawater to grow crops, like mangrove. amazing. Please take a look.
November 8, 2009 § Leave a comment
We’ve all heard the hype about the economy is getting better. the NYT this morning has the following well-meaning editorial with some sense of correction of the normal upbeat forecasts.
If you are looking for an economic recovery you can believe in, the October employment report is not for you.
After contracting for a year and a half, the economy grew in the quarter that ended in September, driven largely by federal stimulus. But government spending, as large and as necessary as it has been, has not been enough to revive hiring.
Unemployment surged from 9.8 percent in September to 10.2 percent last month, its highest level since 1983. At the same time, the economy lost 190,000 more jobs. That means employers have eliminated 7.3 million positions since the recession began in December 2007.
As dreadful as they are, the headline numbers understate the severity of the problem. They also obscure an even grimmer fact: Unless there is more government support, it will take several years of robust economic growth — by no means a sure thing — to recoup the jobs that have been lost.
The unemployment rate includes only jobless people who have looked for work in the past four weeks. The underemployment rate — which also includes jobless workers who have not recently looked for work and part-timers who need full-time work — reached 17.5 percent in October. And the long-term unemployment rate — the share of the unemployed population out of work for more than six months — also continues to set records. It is now 35.6 percent.
The official job-loss data also fail to take note of 2.8 million additional jobs needed to absorb new workers who have joined the labor force during the recession. When those missing jobs are added to the official total, the economy comes up short by 10.1 million jobs.
Taken together, the numbers paint this stark picture: At no time in post-World War II America has it been more difficult to find a job, to plan for the future, or — for tens of millions of Americans — to merely get by.
At a recent meeting at the White House to discuss job creation, President Obama said that “bold, innovative action,” would be needed — from the administration, Congress and the private sector — to undo the devastation in the labor market. Americans are waiting for Mr. Obama to lead the way.
There were good ideas floated at the White House meeting, including bolstered federal support for efforts to retrofit and weatherize homes and public buildings. There was also talk of using government money to establishing a so-called infrastructure bank that would issue bonds to help finance big construction projects.
The country also needs a program that would create jobs for teenagers — ages 16 to 19 — whose unemployment rate is currently a record 27.6 percent. Deep and prolonged unemployment among the young is especially worrisome. It means they do not have a chance, and may never get the chance, to acquire needed skills, permanently hobbling their earnings potential.
We know that more stimulus spending and government programs are a fraught topic. But they are exactly what the country needs. It may be the only way to prevent a renewed downturn. And the only way to create the jobs needed to put Americans back to work. Those are the essential — and missing — ingredients of a sustained recovery.
The problem is the failure to understand the dynamics. The central part of our economy, banks and large ownership, have jettisoned costs, much of it wages, at the periphery, and so while total economic activity is down, the situation has been restructured so that upper class incomes are more or less where they were, with the difference being carried by those who lost jobs. If this picture is correct, there is no motive to go back to the old job picture except solid growth. But people are maxed out on consumptions of some kinds and are not coming back, and growth or even a steady state economy will not work with climate change needs.
SO the conclusion is, I conclude, that there is no recovery possible. What we need instead is a very wide ranging rethinking our economy, how people get incomes and the costs of things that are basic. A focus on local agriculture and new ways of housing – a new homesteading –. Hoping for a techno-green fix is hypocritical because the motive is to ride a new wave, to make money rather than make usefulness.
September 25, 2009 § Leave a comment
MADRID — As world leaders converge in Pittsburgh for a major economic summit this week, one of the biggest questions they face is this: How do you begin to replace the millions of jobs destroyed by the Great Recession, now that the worst of the crisis has potentially passed?THIS STORYSpains Answer to Unemployment: Go GreenerFull Coverage: G-20 and United Nations SummitsHere on the sun-drenched and windy Iberian Peninsula, Spain thinks it has an answer: create new jobs and save the Earth at the same time.